Potholes can soon be reported to Watertown officials through smartphone app | Government


WATERTOWN — In an effort to become more efficient, the city will provide a service that allows residents to report pesky potholes — and find out whether they’ve been fixed — by using a mobile application on their smartphones.

The city is paying a Connecticut software company $22,000 to implement SeeClickFix, a mobile platform that allows residents to communicate with local governments about non-emergency issues.

The software will be used for residents to file information about potholes and report code violations, city IT manager David S. Wurzburg said.

The software was discussed on Thursday by members of Advantage Watertown, a group of community and business leaders that meets monthly to talk about city issues.

“We haven’t gone live with it,” Mr. Wurzburg said, adding that he hopes to implement the program next month.

Jason F. White, Advantage Watertown chair, said he likes the idea and that it will help the city resolve issues.

Mr. Wurzburg attended Thursday’s meeting to talk about the city’s improved website and how the city can better communicate city issues with residents.

During budget deliberations earlier this spring, council members agreed to sign up for the new software.

SeeClickFix, a digital communications system company founded and based in New Haven, Connecticut, runs the website and app.

According to the company’s website, a resident takes a photo of a pothole or other problem, geo-locates it and clicks “submit.”

The information is then sent to the city, which will presumably resolve the issue.

SeeClickFix works with hundreds of municipal, state and county governments throughout the country.

Mr. Wurzburg also talked about the city’s new website that went live several months ago.

The city chose EvoGov Inc., a Colorado company that works with municipalities, to redesign the city’s website in 2020. The company was paid $14,800.

City officials talked to several other firms but was impressed with EvoGov’s capabilities.

The new website makes it easier for city departments to submit information about work that they’re doing that is relevant to residents, Mr. Wurzburg said.

“It vastly improves from the past site,” he said.

It also makes it easier for residents to pay water and other bills and find information about city births and deaths and dog licenses.

When some initial changes were made, the website showed a video of the city that became a City Council campaign issue. A few of the council candidates complained that the video wasn’t very inviting because it showed Watertown during the dead of winter. That video was recently changed to a clip showing downtown and the farmers market along Washington Street during the summer.

“That was the single thing we didn’t have any control over,” said City Manager Kenneth A. Mix, adding that EvoGov decided to use that original video.

The city plans to make additional changes to the new website to improve communication with residents, Mr. Wurzburg said.

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